The Emperor Jones1The Emperor JonesThe Emperor JonesPoster for a 1937 Federal Theater Project production Written by Date premiered Place premiered Eugene ONeill 1 November 1920 Neighborhood Playhouse New York City, New YorkOriginal language English Subject Genre Setting A Black porter attains power in the West Indies by exploiting the superstitions and ignorance of an islands residents. Comedy A West Indian island not yet self-determined, but for the moment, an empire. IBDB profile The Emperor Jones is a 1920 play by American dramatist, Eugene ONeill which tells the tale of Brutus Jones, an African-American man who kills a man, goes to prison, escapes to a Caribbean island, and sets himself up as emperor. The play recounts his story in flashbacks as Brutus makes his way through the forest in an attempt to escape former subjects who have rebelled against him.
The play displays an uneasy mix of expressionism and realism, which is also characteristic of several other ONeill plays, including The Hairy Ape. It was ONeills first play to receive great critical acclaim and box office success, and the one that launched his career.Poster for a 1937 Federal Theater Project production of The Emperor Jones.Characters??? ??? ??? ??? ??? Brutus Jones Smithers JeffUndine Dolly LemThe Emperor Jones2SummaryThe play is divided into eight scenes. Scenes 2 through 7 are from the point of view of Jones, and no other character speaks.
The first and last scenes feature a character named Smithers, a white trader who appears to be part of illegal activities. In the first scene, Smithers is told about the rebellion by an old woman, and then has a lengthy conversation with Jones. In the last scene, Smithers converses with Lem, the leader of the rebellion. Smithers has mixed feelings about Jones, though he generally has more respect for Jones than for the rebels. During this scene, Jones is killed by a silver bullet, which was the only way that the rebels believed Jones could be killed, and the way in which Jones planned to kill himself if he was captured.
Productions1920 PremiereThe Emperor Jones first staged on 1 November 1920 by The Provincetown Players at the Playwrights Theater in New York City. Charles Sidney Gilpin was the first actor to play the role of Brutus Jones on stage and ONeill said later that he was the only actor who had played an ONeill character to ONeills full satisfaction. They did have some conflict over Gilpin??™s tendency to change a few words as he acted.
This production was very successful and it helped make ONeills reputation. The little Provincetown theater was too small to cope with audience demand for tickets, and the play was transferred to another theater. It ran for 204 performances and was hugely popular.The 1924 RevivalAlthough Gilpin continued to perform the role of Brutus Jones in the U.S. tour that followed the Broadway closing of the play, he eventually had a falling out with ONeill. Gilpin wanted ONeill to remove the word “nigger”, which occurred frequently in the play, but the playwright felt its use was consistent with his dramatic intentions.
When they could not come to a reconciliation, ONeill replaced Gilpin with Paul Robeson as Brutus Jones in the London production. Robeson received excellent reviews and, coupled with his performance in the 1928 London production of the musical Show Boat, Robeson went on to worldwide fame as one of the great black artists of the twentieth century, while Gilpin faded into obscurity.Federal Theatre ProjectThe Federal Theatre Project of the Works Progress Administration launched several productions of the play in cities across the United States, including a production with marionettes in Los Angeles in 1938.
Recent ProductionsThe Wooster Group mounted a production of the play in 2007 for the Philadelphia LiveArts Festival which played to sold-out audiences every night of its run. Along with its post-dramatic aesthetics, this staging was notable in that the actor playing the part of Jones, Kate Valk, was female, white, and performed in black face. The play ran for 33 performances at The National Theatre directed by Thea Sharrock starring Paterson Joseph in the lead. New Yorks Irish Repertory Theatre staged a 2009 revival, which received overwhelmingly positive reviews. John Douglas Thompson portrayed Jones.
The Emperor Jones3AdaptationsThe play was adapted for a 1933 feature film directed by Dudley Murphy and starring Paul Robeson. Louis Gruenberg wrote an opera based on the play, which was premiered at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City in 1933. Baritone Lawrence Tibbett sang the title role, performing in blackface. Paul Robesons 1936 film Song of Freedom features a scene from the opera with Robeson singing the role of Jones.
This has sometimes resulted in a confusion that the 1933 film of ONeills play is a film of the opera. Ossie Davis starred in a television adaptation for the Kraft Television Theatre in 1955. British television company ABC-TV produced its own adaptation for the Armchair Theatre series which was transmitted on 30 March 1958.
 It features African-American actor Kenneth Spencer, and was directed by Ted Kotcheff in a version by Terry Southern. Heitor Villa-Lobos wrote a ballet based on the play, that was commissioned by The Empire Music Festival of New York, and danced by Jose Limons company. An experimental video by Christopher Kondek and Elizabeth LeCompte showcases the production of the play by the New York??“based performance troupe The Wooster Group, starring Kate Valk and Willem Dafoe.References http:/ / www.
ibdb. com/ show. aspid=3325  http:/ / www. eoneill. com/ reviews/ jones_frank. htm  “Federal Theatre (Memory)” (http:/ / www. loc. gov/ exhibits/ treasures/ trm017.
html). American Treasures of the Library of Congress. Library of Congress. 2008.
. Retrieved 2009-02-16.  Laura Pearson “Emperor Jones (1958)” (http:/ / www.
screenonline. org. uk/ tv/ id/ 534606/ index.
html), BFI screenonlineFurther reading??? ONeill, Eugene (1920). The Emperor Jones (http://www.eoneill.
com/texts/jones/contents.htm) (First ed.). New York: Random House. OCLC? 29238831.External links??? The Emperor Jones (http://www.ibdb.
com/production.phpid=8338) at the Internet Broadway Database ??? The Emperor Jones (http://www.imdb.com/TitleThe+Emperor+Jones/) at the Internet Movie Database ??? Discussion of Emperor Jones from Travus Bogards book Contours in Time, on eoneill.
(http://www.eoneill. com/library/contour/amateursend/jones.htm)Article Sources and Contributors4Article Sources and ContributorsThe Emperor Jones ? Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.
phpoldid=409650488 ? Contributors: Academic Challenger, AlbertSM, Amoammo, Bonne, CanisRufus, Cbustapeck, Chemica, Chowbok, Cleduc, Clicketyclack, Cuppysfriend, Dassiebtekreuz, David Gerard, Deebes, DionysosProteus, Doctor Sunshine, Dunks58, Eachbuilt, Emerson7, Ewulp, Firsfron, Foofbun, Gamaliel, Ganymead, Gary Betz, Gtrmp, Jodi.a.schneider, Koyaanis Qatsi, Labelephant, Lugnuts, Lysergia, Markhh, Mel Etitis, No.
1 Chelsea Fan, Nrswanson, OwenBlacker, Paralympic, Parkwells, Pearle, Philip Cross, Pollymod, Prodego, RedWolf, Reinyday, Revised, Skier Dude, Svick, Timc, UnitedStatesian, Varlaam, Voceditenore, Zoe, 36 anonymous editsImage Sources, Licenses and ContributorsImage:Emperor Jones 1937.jpg ? Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.phptitle=File:Emperor_Jones_1937.
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